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Old 22nd January 2017, 04:30 AM   #1
Terry K
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Default Large Eagle Head Sword for ID

A friend just took this on trade yesterday. I was going to see another eagle head sword but he traded it. I had to buy it. Would it be English made for US market? I believe it is circa 1815. Has maker/ distributors name lightly stamped on top edge of blade. Anyone know who it is? He thought it was naval because of shell on cross guard and gold coloring but I told him not necessarily.Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Terry
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Old 22nd January 2017, 05:14 AM   #2
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I'm sorry. Blade is approx. 31inches long with one fuller and straight. Pretty heavy. Bone handle
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Old 23rd January 2017, 04:51 AM   #3
Jim McDougall
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I was hoping maybe Glen C would come in on this, and don't have all my stuff on American swords handy. From what I see it does seem like a British made sword (the name on the blade may be Wooley) and the time frame right, Federal period c.1815. The 'shell' on the guard unusual but could be naval I suppose, I was thinking more acanthus leaf. The leaves on the heater type shield langet would seem to have fouled anchor if naval.
The wire wrapped bone grip interesting, and the type eagle head seems to resemble Widmann (Philadelphia) style.
It does not seem American eagle heads usually have the guard terminal in beak.
Hope I can find more or Glen shows up.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 06:44 AM   #4
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Thanks much Jim!
That's what I told him about it not having any anchors on it. I do wonder if the scabbard is replaced as the anchor could have been on it.
Terry
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Old 23rd January 2017, 01:51 PM   #5
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Here are a few other pics.
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Old 24th January 2017, 05:23 PM   #6
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Terry, I have not forgotten this quandary and will try to get to my references asap!! Thanks for the patience......Glen, where are ya?!!
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Old 24th January 2017, 07:40 PM   #7
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Sorry to be so absent. I have been in the process of moving and have limited access at this point. I could make more excuses like my books are packed up but I don't quickly recognize this bird.. Would it be possible to get a straight on profile shot from both sides in natural light (no flash)?


It would not be Widmann for a couple of reasons. Widmann imported both entire swords and blades from Solingen. Secondly, Woolley predates Widmanns work. It does look a bit like one of the Baltimore birds and would maybe show in the back of Peterson, the Lattimer books or the Medicus collection but I haven't unpacked (literally haven't set up shelving). No crest and huge beak, hmmmm, why am I thinking of a particular Baltimore again but those have a prominent crest.

There is something weird about this whole sword but it is probably the lighting. It is possibly an Emmor T Weaver of Philadelphia, let me find a file I have. That would fit with the timeline. Yup, Emmor T Weaver type. Is there an ET stamped on the guard (mebbe not even if him)? The Woolley blade now makes sense of a whole different ball of wax regarding northeastern seaboard cutlers and possible post war surplus blades. Big hmmmm. The E. Andrew Mowbray old testament for the early eagles discusses Weaver, even Peterson has some thoughts in his book. My mind is a bit mush these days but as often as I am wrong, this time I think I am right. The small langets would lead to one thinking post 1821 fashion but then we have the Woolley blade. Looks like refined cast steel as well.

I'll have some more thoughts, no doubt.

Cheers

GC
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Old 25th January 2017, 12:25 AM   #8
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Default Soloman Jackson

It does have the long beak like a Weaver but the style of head and shape of beak and general appearance is more Soloman Jackson. Its just to long. Eric
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Old 25th January 2017, 01:34 AM   #9
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Good points Eric and in looking at the sword more, the ferrule is what we see on some German swords but then the quillion not unlike Weaver's art in the snake scabbard drag. The scabbard on the lead/object sword looks like a re-fit and not original to the sword.

Cheers

GC
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Old 25th January 2017, 04:57 AM   #10
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Jim, GC and Eric,
Thanks for taking time to discuss this sword.
I have looked in the Medicus book and didn't see it. However I've missed stuff before. I'm sure that the scabbard is a replacement. I do not see any ET anywhere on it. Here are some more pictures. If not good enough please let me know.
Terry
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Old 25th January 2017, 04:58 AM   #11
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more
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Old 25th January 2017, 02:18 PM   #12
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Another possibility for maker is Hadley.
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Old 25th January 2017, 02:55 PM   #13
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Mowbray has a eagle head on page 84 number "8" (Honor Sword) that shows a ball end style knuckle guard in it's beak
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Old 25th January 2017, 03:11 PM   #14
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Default Emmor T. Weaver

When sprinting for eagle heads Glen can be most difficult to keep up with, however; if you do not run you do not get faster. In Mowbray's The American Eagle Pommel Sword there are 2 types displayed and reviewed but photos of three different types shown. The third style very similar to Terry's sword less the extra long beak and unusual attachment of knuckle bow to beak. German style ferrule and Emmor purchased blades and parts from S&K. The hunting sword dog head quillion used extensively by Solingen, interestingly also elongated. What does not fit unless entirely made by German firm is the over all excellent quality of manufacture. Emmor made nice swords but they still look American made. The flared counter guard almost like a transitional slot hilts also unusual. Eric
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Old 25th January 2017, 05:02 PM   #15
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Absolutely right Eric! There is positively nobody with Glens tenacity and knowledge on these American swords, and I am always in awe as I go back through his detailed and astute entries on forum pages over the years.
I must admit I have been notably complacent in recognizing the powerful intrigue of these eagle heads, and though I had intended to get the late Andrew Mowbray's venerable book many years ago, I never did.

It is now thankfully on the way!!!! and I hope I can catch up with you guys

Thank you again for posting this Terry.

Questions:

1.are those acanthus leaves in the langet ? Could the 'shell' in the knuckleguard be an acanthus as well?

2.Did the English use eagle heads? In my hopeful quest through my 'notes' (dismally inadequate) I found an uncited entry noting a firm, Upson Bros. of New York who had contracts with sources in Birmingham, England. When the war of 1812 began, the swords (and presumably blades) kept filtering through in barrels and trunks labeled as 'canes' and other innocuous commodities.
Could that be the source for a Wooley blade?
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Old 25th January 2017, 11:39 PM   #16
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Stephen Richards and George Upson Co. Imported swords from Henry Upson, Salter, Bolton, Osborn and Gunby and Thomas Gill. I am not convinced it is a Woolley mark as there are two "L" and two "O" but one "E" in Woolley and this stamp does not look like a double stamp. While I do think the langets are a stylized acanthus leaf, I believe the shell guard is exactly that a shell and possibly has a Naval association. Most eagle heads were designed by the British but soon copied and sold by different Solingen firms. Some of the very early eagle head hunting swords are perhaps for British or Tory use but the British did not use the eagle pommels. Some German states France, and Austria all utilized eagles to some degree and I infact have an eagle head pommel that I believe is German from 1800 time frame. Because of the quality and eagle head style-Solomon Jackson, Salter, Weaver look I think this is a British made eagle, although Weaver was in Philadelphia, the ferrule looks german and the grip looks American. Weaver is the best guess at this point, if I sound confused there is a reason for it. I have seen this eagle before I just cannot remember where.
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Old 26th January 2017, 04:30 AM   #17
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See the very nice eagle bought for or by a Scottish officer in Mowbray's book

There is more than one spelling for Wooley

One thing that had caught me about the subject sword was the chasing around the eyes.

In this case the balls are for an artillery oficer and seen with other later birds but not attached at the knuckle bow. Many of the Later Spies types gulp the guard.

Speaking of Solomon Jackson and balls below. Also a Spies clone with a ball.

Cheers,

GC

a fourteen ball for Jim
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Old 26th January 2017, 03:05 PM   #18
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Thanks Glen! You have an amazing memory, thank you for remembering my work studying the 'five ball hilt'. That was a lot of years ago. I was sure that there must be some symbolic value in the representation of this number . Claude Blair in his article in JAAS thought these swords intriguing and hoped further research would evolve.
When my study reached into the symbolism of Freemasonry, Brian Robson disagreed and suggested to me that the number of the ball motif was simply aesthetic . The conundrum remains strictly a matter of opinion.

Cant wait to get my copy of Mowbray, and looking for articles on eagle head pommels in back issues of "Man at Arms" !! and pretty much through your amazingly thorough posts through the years on the forums.

Eric, thank you so much for your answer, beautifully explained!
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